I installed the new carrier belt yesterday, and Mike helped me fiddle with it until it moved cleanly without shifting. (This took nearly two hours!) I then ran some additional tests on different types of inks, etc. I found that, while I could get good results from pretty much everything, the best results came from a dark gray, laser printed original that had been ironed several times to remove excess toner. After satisfying myself that the screens were almost perfectly clear, I ran the test end-to-end, producing these prints:
See how beautifully the fine lines came out? (The penny gives you an idea of the scale.) And the dark portions are pure blue – except on the muslin, and I think that was user error – it was the last one printed and I was running out of ink, so the dark sections aren’t all filled in. The paper ones look great!
I’m now planning my print run for the weekend. I have five large T-shirt designs picked out, of which these three are my favorite:
(The images all come from various Dover books of Chinese cut-paper designs.)
I had considered doing a multicolor silkscreen for each of these, since I want to “color in” the various sections, but because these are all full-screen prints, doing so would be very expensive. (A single sheet of Thermofax screen costs $3.75 unless you buy in bulk.) Doing all five designs in four colors would be $75 worth of screens! It would also be quite fussy.
So I’ve decided to dye the shirt the color I want, then screen print, then paint and discharge the areas I want to be colored, then paint with thickened dye. This would have several advantages. First, it would give me finer control over color, since my dye samples are quite extensive and my collection of paint colors quite limited. (I’m also not very experienced at mixing paint.) Second, it gives me a chance to practice more surface design techniques, which would be good practice. And third, it’s cheaper!
It will take longer to do things this way – probably two weekends to produce a run of shirts – but I think it will be worthwhile. So that’s the plan.
Meanwhile, there are other fun things to dye! In particular, I want to do the sweatpants this weekend, so I can wear them when working out next week. I’ve decided to dye them black and print various small images on them in gold. I plan to use my running tiger logo (of course!) and do three or four other designs as well.
Socks are a bit harder, because they stretch. I plan to dye them, but probably not silkscreen over the dyed parts. if I do, it will be purely experimental, abstract designs.
And that’s my plans for the upcoming weekend. I may also do some fashion draping, if I have the time and inclination, and am hoping to sneak in some time to work on the book.